I'm leaving for college tomorrow.
Now, I’m no Tavi Gevinson, but I’d like to think that I accomplished a lot during my high school years. I built up a D-list online web presence on YouTube and Tumblr, leading many young and adorable geeks to look up to me as a source of inspiration, which forced me to confront the idea that I am not as mediocre as I consistently believe myself to be. I delved deep into exploring the world of fan culture through conventions and social media, making amazing friends and discovered the creative potential in passion. I wrote songs, fanfiction, and thousands of thousands of terrible tweets. I developed a fashion sense, a music taste, and filled up dozens of sketchbooks with doodles and ideas and plans. I moved gracefully from Ex-Boyfriend to New Boyfriend. I got straight A’s in all honors/AP classes. I spent three weeks in Israel, two weeks in Italy, and two incredible months at my dream internship in New York City. I found new obsessions and fell back in love with old ones. Also, I made friends with Neil Gaiman!!!
(That last one is obviously the most important.)
And tomorrow I fly across the country to start my first year at the University of Southern California School of Cinematic Arts, aka THE LITERAL NUMBER ONE FILM SCHOOL IN THE COUNTRY. And I’m still like, what?? How??? Why did they let me in there??? Don’t they know I’m not actually that cool, or talented, or good at things?????? And they gave me so much money, this is all a terrible mistake, I do not belong in the same building as teenage cinematic prodigies who’ve already made feature films and won awards at festivals and probably brunched with Hollywood agents—
Well, I’m certainly not going to tell them now. Shh. It’s our secret.
There are a lot of things I want to do in college. There are so many things I want to do in college that I will probably get overwhelmed and legitimately achieve very few of them. These things include, but are not limited to: starting a cool band, making a short film, having a radio show on which I can interview my favorite minor celebrities, making a new best friend, writing new songs, losing six to nine pounds, getting a cool job… Oh, and also, you know, getting good grades.
Because college isn’t just a fantasy fairyland of parties and adventures and booze and hot guys and drugs, like some kind of fever-dream montage set to a Ke$ha song. I know that! My heart might have been suckered into this exciting collegiate ideal by all the university-centric TV and movies I’ve consumed throughout my life, but my rational mind knows that, realistically, most of my time during the next four years will be spent studying, writing, doing homework, taking notes, crying over the absurd prices of textbooks, and studying some more. I’m taking a full course load, my major is complex and fascinating and exciting, and my professors, according to the estimable wisdom of ratemyprofessor.com, are fond of assigning homework.
But I am much more accepting (and maybe even a little… excited?) about the prospect of my free time being non-existent than I was during high school— because at long, long last, I have reached the point in my academic where all the classes I’m taking are interesting to me. No more Spanish, no more calculus, no more of the inexorable drudgery of PE! I am so ready to be able to explore the nuances of digital communication, media arts, and the cinema without the added burden of having to run two miles in the middle of the day and then not being able to shower after. Seriously, fuck PE.
Right now, I am literally holding in my hand a one-way ticket to Los Angeles. It’s honestly fucking poetic. Tomorrow morning I’m flying 2,000 miles away from the town I’ve lived in for 18 years and entering into the next phase (really, the first phase) of my adult life. My parents aren’t even coming with me—they’re dropping me at the curb of the airport, and I’m getting on the plane by myself.
It’s crazy. I’m scared.
But I’m ready.